A mockup from the city of what the bandshell would look like with the fencing in place. Councillors suggested the fencing only be put up during the nighttime. Photo courtesy of City of Penticton

Council investigating fencing Gyro Park Bandshell

The suggestion came from staff after complaints of vandalism, broken glass and drug paraphernalia

With options for a safe space to sleep dwindling, Paul Braun said the Gyro Park Bandshell has often been his shelter from a harsh weather night.

That all could be changing for the homeless man, if the idea pitched at city council for a fence to go up around the bandshell to protect it from vandalism goes forward. A plan that he believes will have no effect on preventing graffiti or keeping it clean.

“How long do you figure it’s going to take with that black fence up there, for somebody with a can of spray paint to start painting graffiti on it?” he asked. “How many hours are they going to spend repainting that all the time?”

“I don’t know what the tourists or these transients do up there, but I know when I was up there I was up there to get out of the weather and sleep. What are they going to do next? Put up a fence around the whole park?” he said.

City of Penticton manager of facilities Bregje Kozak told councillors on Tuesday the open stage has become a nuisance for nearby businesses and event organizers. The stage, which is regularly used in the summertime for events, has also become home graffiti, broken glass and drug paraphernalia, according to Kozak. In fact, cleaning up the mess in the bandshell cost the city eight work hours per week.

“We tried some other solutions. Last year, we put up a siren that came on on a motion detection, but that didn’t work very well for the neighbours in the area. We also have a strobe light that blinks a very bright light, but it doesn’t really deter the activity.”

Now, staff is proposing a modu-link fence be put up during non-event hours, which Kozak said wouldn’t cost anything to the city, since the fencing came from the city yards. Kozak suggested posting no trespassing signs on the fence, would further allow them to take action by calling RCMP.

Councillor Campbell Watt took issue with the notion of blocking any public park space, stating he would only be comfortable if there was a significant impact immediately. While Mayor Andrew Jakubeit sympathized with the cause, noting the park space can be an uninviting place.

“Even this Saturday for the market, some of the vendors bring their kids in, and instead of being able to enjoy and play in the park, they had to contend with people doing drugs and whatever activities by the bandshell,” Jakubeit said.

Councillor Tarik Sayeed called gating off the bandshell an act of “unconscious marginalization.”

“What we need to do, as a city and as councillors and the decisions we make, it needs to be a fair representation of all,” he said. “What I see here is that we are trying to dissect and hamper a group of people that we shouldn’t be. We should be welcoming to everyone, and there should be other ways of dealing with this rather than putting a fence in there.”

Councillor Helena Konanz made note of some of the things that the city would be missing if they block that area off during non-event hours.

“One of the nicest things I’ve seen at that park is walking by or driving by and seeing kids having set up a boombox or music and they’re randomly dancing to it,” she said. “It’s such a nice play place. Something besides when it’s being reserved, when it’s not being reserved, it’s a nice place for people to have their moment on the stage.”

With that in mind, Konanz suggested the city only put the fence up at night, allowing the stage’s use during the daytime.

Because Kozak would need to find a way to have staff available to set up and take down the fence each night, council deferred the issue to the next meeting.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Proposal for public outdoor rink in downtown Penticton gaining traction

Outdoor rink, funded by the Penticton Vees, would always remain free to use for the public.

Four Canadian mega-bands ready to rock Penticton this summer

Big Wreck, Headstones, Moist, and The Tea Party coming to Penticton in June

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

Future of Penticton francophone school secured following funding announcement

$11.5M in funding means École Entre-lacs now independently owned and operated

Deer rescued after falling through ice on Skaha Lake

Deer likely chased onto the lake by a coyote; tail missing, injuries not critical.

17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Samajam gets Okanagan kids in the groove

Children make music at Performing Arts Centre show Saturday

Human rights tribunal to hear case regarding alleged violation at Okanagan school

An Okanagan mother alleges a school did not make accommodations for her daughter’s seizure disorder.

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

North Okanagan woman pleas for return of stolen scooter

‘It’s been another kick in the teeth… how do you get ahead and keep your head above water?’

Police search for owner of another icy sailboat on Okanagan Lake

The frozen vessel was spotted near the 800 block of Manhattan Drive in Kelowna

Most Read